Timestamps

This is one of the latest things I’m learning from the excellent writer/coaches at the OWW.  It’s also one of my more common writing sins.  It goes like this:

An hour later, Reed and Fleggie had reached the edge of the forest.

The phrase “an hour later” adds very little.  It’s usually more direct and vivid to let the reader infer, perhaps subconsciously, that the appropriate amount of time had passed for the action described.  Of course if something happened an inappropriate amount of time has passed, then a timestamp isn’t a distraction:

Four days later, exhausted and nearly out of food, Reed and Fleggie finally located the cave.  

Subtle (at least I thought it was), and it happens a lot.  


© Michael C. Glaviano 2009 - 2016